1,600 years ago, at the southern part of the modern Haifa stood Roman-Byzantium and Samaritan town called Castra. Today this place is occupied by a huge shopping mall with the same name. There are two small museums, shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafes inside the mall. But the most interesting thing at Castra are the ceramic tiled wall and ceiling paintings. The themes of paintings include Biblical scenes such as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, David and Goliath, and many more and they are the largest of the kind in the world. This unique project was accomplished by the famous Austrian-Israeli artist Erich Brauer who lived in the Israeli artists' colony Ein Hod and in Vienna.
Castra Mall with the wall paintings
Erich Brauer was born in 1929 to a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia to Vienna. He experienced the rise of National Socialism as a child. His father died in a concentration camp while Brauer himself managed to survive the Holocaust by going deep into hiding. After the war, Brauer studied art and music, the dual passion he would pursue throughout all his life. Somehow, he is much more famous in Austria than in Israel, although he spent years of his life in Israel and has created the magnificent wall painting at Castra.
Arik Barauer's paintings at Castra Mall
Arik Brauer has just passed away on January 24th, 2021, and his mural paintings in Haifa have become a monument to this great artist.
Arik Brauer Self-Portrait, Leopold Museum, Vienna